During the next few weeks, there will be dozens of stories about graduations for doctorate degrees down to early childhood celebrations.
They are exciting experiences for the families and for the children themselves, as they usher in a new period of reflection, planning, and just plain hope and happiness.
By the end of these annual rituals, I will have attended three such graduations. Two for my granddaughters and one as a trustee of Hofstra University.
I am focusing on the college events because as a veteran of many such experiences I noticed something different this year that I have never observed before.
Somehow, this year’s graduates are different in many ways.
Obviously, all of them are concerned about getting a job and moving out of the upstairs bedroom.
However, I detected a lot more things that give me hope for a better America. In talking to many of the new degree holders, I detected a surprising awareness of the state of the world and the challenges we face.
They are genuinely concerned about the country’s polarization and many told me stories about how they have experienced these new tensions.
I asked a number of groups about what their biggest concerns were, beyond just getting a job. They spoke of climate change, lack of affordable housing, glass ceilings, bad elected officials and their fears that a war could end their path to success.
They have little respect for the current political system and think all politicians worry about is being elected.
They didn’t mention names such as Trump, Clinton, Russia or Stormy Daniels. They spoke in simple yet eloquent words about their views, their fears and their aspirations.
What I found most exciting is that most of them told me that they looked forward to voting for some candidate whose agenda they respect.
They talked about participation in the process and the need for their generation to be vocal on issues. They were very critical of us fully grown adults who they feel have failed to fight enough for the changes that are needed to our society.
They understand that most of us are focused on making sacrifices for family or just trying to survive on a day-to-day basis.
But the experience of seeing and hearing from college graduates made me hopeful about what the Class of 2018 will do to make our country a better place to live in.
And the more that I listened the more I came to the conclusion that our current crop of citizens have abdicated their role and have left the battlefield to two groups who will never see eye-to-eye on anything.
There are movements currently building up around the country that will be forces for change. The Me Too movement will no doubt turn out in large numbers this November as will groups fighting for some form of equality.
The Dreamers will be galvanized to show up at the polls to express their hope for some protection from the government.
Some of the teachers who have gone on strike around the nation will transfer their new-found power into running for office. This year there will be more women running for office than at any time in the history of the country.
All of these movements are pockets of people pushing for change. They will turn out to be a significant number of voters but the real ingredient for success is our youth. It is estimated that by November, 3.8 million students will be eligible to vote.
They will be joined by the members of the new crop of college graduates. All told these different groups could create an electoral tidal wave, if their enthusiasm holds until November.
The Parkland school survivors have started their own campaign to make sure that the candidates they support are in favor of reasonable gun control laws and many students around the country are doing voter canvassing for the first time.
As we approach the second half of the year I am more optimistic than ever that the country may have a new awakening thanks to today’s youth.
Hopefully, their energy will make up for the failure of the current generation to be agents for change.